Taking a break from the regular vegan cake, today’s cake recipe will be a chiffon cake (the cake itself is dairy-free, however the frosting is not). This elusive cake is technique wise harder to make well than a vegan cake, however it’s light fluffy texture and not-so-sweet taste makes every extra minute worth it.
This chiffon cream cake is made in the style of Euro-Asian fusion bakeries like Paris Baguette, 85C, and Shang-Kee bakery. These fusion bakeries share the love of a light, fluffy cake that feels like eating a cloud. My mom in particular loves the light fluffy texture of chiffon cakes, which is achieved by making an egg meringue and folding it into the rest of the cake batter. The frosting is made by whipping up heavy whipping cream, and in fact adding sugar is totally optional and purely for taste only. Since the frosting is made from whipping ream, it has a melt-in-your mouth texture that is lighter than buttercream cakes. The downside of this type of frosting is that it is not great for decorating – it lacks the stiffness of buttercream so you will not be able to pipe flowers or swirls, or any design more than a blob onto the cake for decoration. For this reason, most chiffon cakes are decorated with fruits, jellies, and fondant figures.
Many chiffon cakes are made in a tube pan with a hollow center to allow for more even heat distribution during baking (however you do not have to! Any non-stick pan will work). One important tip is to not use any oil on the pan, much different from the traditional cake in which we would butter and flour the pan to prevent sticking. Simply use a non-stick tube pan and wash it clean as extra oil will interfere with the rising of the cake.
When you remove your cake from the tube pan, run a knife around the side of the cake to release it. To release the bottom, run a knife parallel to the cake top as close to the pan as you can. Since each tube pan is pretty tall, you can use a cake slicer (or any long knife) to cut the cake in half to put frosting and fruit in the middle.
To make the frosting itself, use a cream based frosting for the lightest texture. Because cream frosting melts easily, use a stabilizer while whipping up the frosting. I use a gelatin packet dissolved in cold and then hot water. After you add the cold water to a gelatin packet it looks like this:
Clumpy no? But after you add in hot water, it all dissolves and you can’t taste it when you add it to your whipped frosting. Whip your frosting with care NOT to over whip (makes it clotted). Whip until you get stiff peaks like so: See how the tip stands up on its own instead of flopping over?
Happy Caking! How do you like the cream chiffon cake style compared to butter cream cakes? I’m also working on a vegan version of this frosting — stay tuned!
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ cup sugar - to put in flour mix (optional, can omit if desire minimally sweet cake)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 eggs, separated egg whites and yolks
- ¾ cup cold water
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cream of tar tar
- ¾ cup sugar - to add to egg mixture
- ¼ cup white sugar (for taste only, you can even omit it)
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream (1 quart)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons (1 packet) gelatin
- cold water and hot boiling water
- Preheat oven to 325 F, and chill your largest bowl in the fridge.
- Wash food tube pan in hot soapy water to remove all oils, then wipe dry.
- Sift 2 cups cake flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, ¾ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt into a medium size bowl and set aside.
- Crack 7 eggs carefully **separating** the whites and yolk into two different bowls* Put the egg whites in the large bowl you chilled in step 1.
- Whisk egg yolks using a fork until well mixed. Add ¾ cup cold water, ½ cup canola oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the egg yolk and whisk to combine.
- Sift in the dry mixture of step 3, into the egg yolk mixture. Mix to combine (can use hand mixer).
- In the largest bowl / stand mixer bowel that you chilled in step 1, whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks using a hand or stand mixer. Add in cream of tar tar (1 teaspoon) close to the start, and add ¾ cup sugar closer to the middle of the whisking to make the peaks glossy. The whisking will take about 12 minutes if you start on low-medium speed and ramp up to high on a stand mixer (if you start high initially it will whip faster). The peak is stiff when it does not fold over easily when you lift a small amount up (or flip your whisk so the tip is facing up).
- Add the meringue created above in three partitions to the egg yolk mixture, folding to combine each time.
- Pour into the tube food pan (NOT GREASED!!)
- Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
- Invert the pan onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Flip the pan right side up again, and run a knife a long the outer edges of the pan to release the cake. While doing so, make sure to direct the knife along the edge of the pan only so not to scrape off pieces of cake.
- Use a knife to divide the cake into 2 layers by cutting once across the middle. I used a cake leveler for maximum accuracy and evenness, but a knife works great as well!
- First prepare the stabilizer for the frosting (makes it not melt so fast): Boil hot water in a kettle. While boiling, add 2 teaspoons gelatin (1 packet) to 3 tablespoons cold water and whisk - the mixture will look like a sticky jelly. Add the hot boiled water (about 4 tablespoons is enough) and whisk until the jelly is all dissolved ~ about 1 minute.
- Add 4 cups heavy whipping cream into a bowl.
- Whisk using a hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla as you whisk. If you choose to add sugar, you can add it in while you whisk. Make sure not to over-mix, do not want it to look "clotted" at the end, but rather just able to hold some peaks.
- Add the stabilizer mixture once the cream starts to thicken.